Biosensor Basics

WHAT ARE BIOSENSORS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?

Biological Sensors - or Biosensors - are analytical devices that detect an array of data that come from a biological source. It is made up of three components: a bio-recognition component, transducer, and an electronic system. There are several different kinds of biosensors, depending on the biological source. These sources include:

  • Enzymes

  • Antibodies

  • Micro-organisms

  • Biological tissue

  • Organelles

There are also different kinds of biosensing methods:

  • Affinity Sensor: the bio-recognition component binds to the analyte.

  • Metabolic Sensor: the bio-recognition component and the analyte cause a chemical change that can be used to measure the concentration of a source.

  • Catalytic Sensor: the biological source combines with the analyte and does not change chemically but rather translates it to an auxiliary substrate.

 

HOW DO THEY WORK?

The bio-recognition component is attached or placed on the biological source where it responds and interacts with the analyte being tested. This is then converted into an electrical signal by the transducer. The transducer detects the information transferred and translates the signal from the interaction with the biological source into another signal that can be measured by the electronic system. The electronic system (which can include an amplifier, processor and display) takes the information translated by the transducer and displays it for the viewer in a user-friendly way.

 

WHO USES BIOSENSORS AND WHERE CAN THEY BE APPLIED?

The medical industry is the largest group taking advantage of biosensors as it is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world. Other industries such as consumer goods, aerospace, industrial electronics, media and tracking, and information products also use biosensors.

Biosensors can be used in a variety of applications as long as they meet the requirement – the sensor must be attached to an identifiable biological source that can be easily recognized by the sensor. Here are several examples of where biosensors can be applied.

  • Bio Feedback – EKG and ECG Sensors

  • Time release Transdermal Patches

  • Glucose monitoring

  • Environmental applications

  • Remote sensing of airborne bacteria

  • Water quality sensing

  • Toxin level sensing

  • Analytical measurement of folic acid, vitamins, etc.

  • Detection of drug residues in food

 

HOW DOES ECI PROVIDE BIOSENSORS?

ECI designers work with customers to create specialized coatings and formulations which match the performance requirements of the end user. We specialize in facilitating the proper ink/Gel ratio, formulating a variety of conductive pastes, and inks with different loads of additives, or characteristics to develop the final product which can be reliable and viable in biosensor product development. Medical electronic products need absolute reliability and biosensors offer this as well as patient comfort, less invasiveness and can be disposable. Combining various printed materials such as Nickel, Carbon, Silver, Zinc, Tungsten, Silver/Silver Chloride, along with numerous material combinations, we work with our customers to find the best blend of materials for each application.